NEW figures show dole queues in Kirklees are growing faster than most other parts of the country.
The number of people claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance rose from 5,980 in February 2008 to 10,960 for the same month this year.
The rise in unemployment of 4,980 is the eighth highest in the country.
Several Huddersfield firms have cut jobs in the last few months. Engineering company Cummins Turbo Technologies alone has reduced its workforce at its St Andrew’s Road site from 1,100 to 850 since Christmas.
And centrifuge manufacturer Broadbent cut 65 of 200 jobs at its Queen Street South site.
Clr Mehboob Khan said yesterday (Monday) that Kirklees Council was doing all it could to increase employment.
The council leader said: “We are very concerned at the local increase in unemployment. The council is serious about keeping as many people as possible in work and we have a range of initiatives to support business and employment creation.
“Our business advisors are working with many companies to offer advice, help with business rates and access to a range of support measures. This increasing business engagement is to ensure companies are able to access a range of Government measures.”
Clr Khan added that Kirklees was trying to help small businesses during the recession.
He said: “We are aiming to boost opportunities for businesses to sell goods and services to the council. To help businesses with cash flow, a new invoice payment timescale was introduced in December under which all council services should aim to pay all suppliers’ invoices within 10 days.
“The latest payment report for January to March 2009 shows that 70% of invoices have been paid within 10 days.”
And Clr Khan said that Kirklees was also creating jobs itself.
He said: “We are keeping all our apprenticeships going in gardening and building services. The free insulation scheme Kirklees Warm Zone has generated around 65 jobs while the insulation contractor Miller Pattison has created a new depot in Cleckheaton with 70 employees.”
The new unemployment figures, released yesterday (Monday) by think-tank The Work Foundation, show the largest rises in Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow.
Spokeswoman Naomi Clayton said: “It is the core cities of the North that are worst hit. Some areas which didn’t experience the economic prosperity are now more vulnerable to the downturn than other areas.”